Grandma and Papa Do Disneyland

// December 2nd, 2012 // Uncategorized

When our kids were small, Dave came home from the hardware store one day with a fat six-foot length of sprinkler pipe. Later that afternoon, he brought it to our room—a cap on each end and a slot near one of the caps. {Our change jug never seemed to get very full so Dave, suspecting foul play, switched tactics for saving his loose change every day.} Big treats were a rarity, but every two to three years, we cashed in our silver for a trip to Disneyland. (The pennies went to Papa Don -Dave’s dad- for the Shriner’s burn hospital.)

Even the kids put money into the tube. As the sprinkler pipe neared full, dinner conversation centered on the upcoming trip to Anaheim. These trips were in the autumn or the early spring, and always on a mid-weekday.

Two days before the excursion, Dave cut the bottom cap from the pipe and ceremoniously dumped the change onto the living room floor. And I DO mean ceremoniously. I can still see him dragging the heavy tube in from the garage. “Oh, no! Somebody better come help me! This thing is so heavy…there it goes…I…think I’m…going…to drop it!” By then he had all the help he could manage. Groaning, they helped Dad lift the tube upside down. “Look at that mountain of money!” Yep. He should have been in theater, not the geek Chess Club in high school. With the pile on the floor, we started guessing the total. The closest got bragging rights.

We had our jobs—Dad fished out the dollar bills (sometimes waving a twenty in their faces), Steve-quarters, Amy-dimes, Nick-nickels, and I watched over the flying arms. Dave and I helped the kids fill and secure their coin rolls.

The day before our trip, the kids and I went to the bank, exchanging our heavy load for paper money. Home again; I called Disneyland to find out tomorrow’s hours {sometimes they opened an hour earlier than scheduled} and which rides were closed. That night at dinner, we planned our attack—listing our favorite rides. When we got to Disneyland, we were pinballs shooting around the park until we completed our list.

Our Spring 1987 trip looked something like this…
Arrive forty-five minutes before the park opens
Wait with the crowd for Main Street’s velvet rope to drop
Speed walk to Space Mountain (less than a five-minute line)
Star Tours
Pirates of the Caribbean
Tea Cups
Haunted Mansion
Small World (for Baby-JaeJae *wink*)
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (for Dad)
…then we slowed down a little. We’d finished our list within an hour and a half. The next hour, we spent waiting in short lines for a few more rides (Pinocchio, People Movers, and the train around the park) before heading to Tomorrowland Terrace for lunch.

We stayed until they closed—after the parade (a great time to hop on the popular rides) and a little shopping. The drive home was quiet—the kids asleep and Mom halfway there. We have DONE Disneyland again.

Amy went with some friends once, expecting them to bounce enthusiastically around the park like we do. Not so. That night she told us, “When we got there, they bought some coffee and sat in the Plaza—sipping, looking at the map, and talking to each other about what they want to see today. By the time we got on our first ride, our family would have been getting off of our sixth!”

After looking forward to this trip for more than two years, our family didn’t want to waste a moment at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Today, things are different. This year, Dave’s company held their annual employee appreciation day at Disneyland. We were able to buy California Select passes at a deep discount by applying that day’s tickets {and two Disney gift cards from a few years ago} to new passes. Since last July, we’ve been six times.

Now we arrive a little after the park opens, hit a few rides and then amble through the different “Lands” searching for hidden Mickeys. We’ve learned to love California Adventure almost as much as Disneyland. And we love the slow pace we set for ourselves.

Although we still enjoy Disneyland, by going so often it’s lost some of its excitement….unless we bring a grandbaby with us. Then we get to see it through fresh eyes again.

              Even after they grew up…we still DO D’land! Nick and Steve in 1996

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